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  1. #1
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    Neon Lights Blast~

    Hi guys,

    Trying to create a so called neon lights blast effect in photoshop, something similar to the attached picture.

    Any idea what combination of effects or colors could acheive that?

    I did the searchs in the forum and in google and most neon light tutorials or comments are about those neon light letters or stuff, but not these kind.

    Cheers and thanks in advance!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -s7N
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  2. #2
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    Those are mostly blur effects coupled with some well placed brush work and opacity settings.
    The thing with that image is that its against a black background, so on a new layer create a shape and fill it with colour, give that layer a blur of about .5%
    You'll notice that against the black the new layer you've blurred looks like its "glowing" due to the automatic feathering and transparency.
    You can also add lighting to these shapes in the Filter > render > lighting tabs.
    Play around with it.

  3. #3
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    I've managed to get the "glowing" part, but can't seem to get the neon-ish color. Like the ultra brightness or it..
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    build on the colours by adding more layers.
    Like I said earlier, the transparent effect is the key here, so - more than one layer will solidify the colour - obviously the more layers you have the stronger the colour.
    Smaller shapes then blurred over different layers will become brighter.

  5. #5
    Senior Member RUSHVision's Avatar
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    So how's this comin', dude? Were you able to get the effect you were after?
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    Not going very well.. Haha.. Overlapping more layers with "screen" or "color dodge" does get it much brighter(thanks Natsia), but the problem is the edges gets too hard as more layers overlap.. And the blasts won't blend out with the background too nicely.. This is a tough one.. The blending of the colors, the blending of the blast and the background, the diagonal blasts of light.. very hard to get it just right.. =[
    The specks/particles of light are the only one i can get more or less right i guess.. Haha..
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  7. #7
    Senior Member RUSHVision's Avatar
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    I'll try to work something up for this particular effect, then.
    mrush


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  8. #8
    Banned wbwd's Avatar
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    hey, you said that you have thoes glowing thing thigies done... well, then, why not merge all the layers and DODGE the areas that you need to highlight ?

  9. #9
    Senior Member RUSHVision's Avatar
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    Alright, it took me just short of forever, but here ya go...

    Gradient Lighting Tutorial

    Here is the effect that we will be recreating in this tutorial.



    Creating The Light Source
    The light source will be made up of various blurred gradients. It's pretty much that simple and you should think of these things as such. What you are looking at is a collection of colored pixels. So if you want to recreate a certain effect all you need to do is figure out how to make your pixels display in the same fashion. This in turn is done by using the tools to manipulate the contents of various selections. I know, it's easy to say and harder to do, right?

    Just step back and examine the image. Note which colors are used, how they blend together, and the shapes that they form. Knowing that we will want to recreate the glow that is behind the subject, mentally remove the subject from the image and concentrate only on the colors that are behind it. There are several main things going on there. Those little cuts in the top of the gradient we can add later, so ignore those as well for now. Upon initial inspection it looks like the yellow part next to his arm and the purple sliver at the top are hue-adjusted copies of the main gradient, so these too will be dealt with later. That leaves us with the main greenish gradient blob, some sparkly bits, and some funky stuff happening over on the right.

    The Main Gradient
    Alright, on to the main gradient, after which we'll look into the funky stuff on the right. We're looking to recreate the effect in the target image so we look at what's going on there. We are going to assume that the center of the gradient will be white to represent the brightest part of the light. Moving outward, we see that it transitions to a light green before fading out at the edges. There is also a darker green halo on parts of it, but since this doesn't look entirely uniform, we'll work on adding that after we get the main gradient laid down. What you see below is the basic gradient that I started out with. This will be used more than once, so whenever you do something to it make a copy first and leave the original alone.



    The first thing I did was to apply a Gaussian Blur to give the edge a decent fade. Next I duplicated that layer and applied more of a blur, which gave the edges an even softer appearance, and a richer one that you could create by blurring just the gradient on a single layer. I also used the Levels dialogue on one of the layers, pulling the outer two sliders on the top towards each other to further increase it's intensity. These two layers were then merged. Remember that you can always change the color of your glow at any time by hitting Ctrl+U to bring up the Hue/Saturation dialogue so all you need to concentrate on at this point is general light intensity. Here is what things looked like after the tweaking and merging.



    One thing you want to avoid at this point is blurring the shape so much that the edges of it extend beyond the boundaries of the document. The reason for this is that you want to be able to scale your light source to whatever size you want. If you blur it too much and then scale it down, you'll end up seeing hard edges where the blurred pixels met the edges of the document. A gradient shape such as the one we are working with is something that you can scale up and down with no real discernable loss in quality, so if you need to scale your gradient down to a fairly small shape in the middle of your document the go right ahead. You can just scale it back up after you've blurred it. This way as long as you don't later crop your document, you can scale up your gradient as much as you want and if you were to scale it down again the soft edges would still be there.

    Don't be afraid to lay down some different gradients and play around with the blending modes to see what kind of effects you can come up with. Some of the coolest things I've done were a result of me just screwing around and experimenting with different things. Also get comfortable with 'making things your own', meaning that you shouldn't feel compelled to create something that looks exactly like what someone else has created. Go ahead and be inspired by the essence of their work, but challenge yourself to explore other possibilities.

    Next I scaled, rotated, and distorted the gradient to make a more dynamic presentation behind the subject. At this point the image looked as pictured below.



    The Human Element
    Now that we've got the image to this point it might be a good time to talk about the subject behind which our light source will be placed. There are a lot of different ways to cut people out and separate them from their original background and that subject probably merits a tutorial all it's own, but I will give an overview of the process. The subject in my example is one that handily enough comes from an instance where I was helping someone else with that very thing...separating a person from their background. She was already cut out and the lighting of the photo naturally suited what I was trying to do very well so no reason for me to go and cut out another one.

    The way I originally extracted her though, was to use a Layer Mask. Instead of erasing, I used a brush on the mask to hide everything but the woman herself. It's really exactly the same amount of work aside from the initial application of the mask, but this way you can always rework the edges if there is ever a desire or need. The hair can be kind of tricky, just use a small brush and plenty of patience. Getting some of the individual strands to stand out is well worth a little bit of work to make it happen. In a situation like this, it is these that are really going to catch the light and highlight the effect.

    Remember that you can work the mask both ways. You might consider using a brush to cover up the edges then the Smudge Tool to pull them back out. Additonally, you can use the Dodge Tool to create some more highlights on the edges of your figure at the places where the light is most intense. The ends of the hair is a good place to do this. Make a note though, you will be Dodging the figure itself with this step, not the Layer Mask.

    Adjusting Subject Color Balance
    It's quite easy to see in the first screenshot with the girl that the colors on her are way out of line with that of the light that we are going to be projecting behind her. The overall lighting on the image is pretty much perfect though, since the source in that photo is coming from above and to the left, which will make placing ours behind her and to the left believable. Having that already correct, adjusting the colors is actually easier than you might think.

    To adjust the overall color tones of your subject in order to match the color of the lighting, you can use the individual color channels found in the Levels dialogue. To access this go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Be sure to check "Use Previous Layer as Clipping Mask" in the first dialogue box that pops up where it allows you to name the adjustment layer. If you haven't used Adjustment Layers before, they are just like using the dialogues normally, but with these you can turn them on and off or double-click their thumbnail on the layer panel to change their properties.

    Without getting too deep into it, you want to select each color channel from the top drop down list and adjust the colors to favor those found in your gradient lighting that you are placing behind the subject. It's hard to intuitively know what's going to happen here until you get some experience with it, so pick a channel, move some sliders, and see what effect it has on the image. You want to concentrate primarily on the midtones and highlights so try adjusting the middle and right sliders first in each of the channels until you find a balance that works. The sliders on the left will affect the shadows.

    Once I had the subject and the basic gradient set up I moved on to work in the embellishments to the light source. Below you see the girl after the Levels adjustment.



    continued...
    Last edited by RUSHVision; 11-26-2006 at 06:17 AM.
    mrush


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  10. #10
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    Making The Cuts
    Giving the gradient the 'cuts' on the top was done largely through the use of a Layer Mask. Editable and easily selectable shapes were created with the Pen Tool and rendered as Shape Layers. The shapes basically cut the glow into several diagonal sections. Each section was then selected one at a time and I used the Burn Tool with a soft edge on the Layer Mask in an arcing stroke at the top, which had the effect of delineating the edge to the left and separated the top of the glow into individual vanes, or blades, however you want to think of them.



    To pronounce the effect, the selections were made again, but inverted, then I used the Dodge Tool on the left edges to bring out the highlights a little more. Here is what things looked like after this step.



    The Purple Slices
    I began by duplicating the main gradient glow layer and deleting everything but the leftmost section. I then scaled it to taste and rotated it to match the other cuts. The color distribution in this one was a bit different so I used the Hue/Saturation dialogue to desaturate and lighten it so it was completely white. I wanted it to have a little more substance, so I duplicated the layer a few times then merged them.

    To add the color, I first entered Quick Mask Mode (the button on the right just below the foreground/background colors on the toolbar) then used the Brush Tool/Smudge Tool to mask off the areas to which I wanted to add color. Once I exited Quick Mask Mode I hit Ctrl+I to invert the selection and then Ctrl+U to open up the Hue/Saturation dialogue. In there, I checked the 'Colorize' box, darkened it a bit, and adjusted it to the desired hue/color. I did this twice, once for the blue and once for the purple. After all the coloring was done I duplicated the layer and moved it over to create the second one. I duplicated the one on the left again then moved the layer above the one with the girl. Next I applied a Layer Mask and faded out the bottom. Below you see the results.



    The Yellow Thing
    There are probably a bunch of different ways you could do it, but to create the yellow part to the left of center in the main light glow I started by duplicating the layer containing the main glow. I then used the template shape closest to that 'slice' to create a selection then the Polygonal Lasso Tool to select and delete everything but that last section of the gradient. It may not be too terribly important, but I also feathered that selection by 1 pixel prior to deleting in order to get a smoother edge.

    Next I Ctrl+clicked the main gradient layer to load it's oval selection then scaled it down a bit and feathered it by 12 pixels. This gave me a selection around the core of the slice. I then hit Ctrl+U to bring up the Hue/Saturation dialogue to change the core from green-ish to yellow-ish. I also used the Burn Tool to subtly darken the interior of the yellow core. One more trip to the Hue/Saturation dialogue to make some final adjustments, then the last thing I did was to deselect everything and apply a slight Gaussian Blur to the entire layer to soften it up a bit.

    And that's exactly what I did. You'll notice however, that the dark yellow bit near the center of the glow in the example image is actually purple in my image. That's because the more I thought about it, the more I couldn't figure out why that dark yellow bit was there. So you may use your command over the Photoshop's tools to make it that dark if you want, but I decided mine looked better with the purple.

    Frankly that part was still bothering me though, so I took a big soft brush and threw some more purple into the core of the gradient. This layer lies above the girl and actually bleeds over onto her right side a little bit. This irregular color blob was given a Gaussian Blur to further soften it. To cap it off, I used a Gradient Overlay Layer Style to apply a yellow-to-transparent purple gradient which is what introduces the yellow into the center of the image. The image below shows the addition of these two elements.



    The Sparkles
    The sparkles are easy enough, just use a soft brush set to Scatter and then duplicate them and apply a Gaussian Blur and/or an Outer Glow Layer Style. It looks like they kind of fade out a little bit on the bottom, so that effect would be achieved by applying a Layer Mask to the sparkle layer then using the Burn Tool on the mask to darken the area that you want to fade. As far as the layer mask itself is concerned, black will completely covered up the pixels beneath it, white lets everything show through, and shades of grey represent varying levels of opacity...so the darker the pixels in the mask, the less whatever is behind them will show through. It looks like they are also blurred more at the bottom than at the top, so if you wanted this to happen just use the Blur Tool on the appropriate areas.



    What's That Stuff On The Right?
    I've actually got a couple funky things going on in there. In addition to that wiggly business on the right there is another modified gradient circle basically centered behind her head and right arm. I've got the main gradient glow faded a bit to better show these two elements in the pic below.



    To create the circular one on the top, I duplicated the gradient that I began with before transforming it into an oval. I then went to Filter>Stylize>Wind and blew it out to the left. Hitting this with a Gaussian Blur created kind of a cool plasma look. This was then rotated so the wiggly bits pointed up in the same direction as the cuts in the main gradient. The blend mode of this layer was set to Soft Light and I added a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to turn it from green to purple. This was placed and scaled in such a way that it sort of framed her head and arm, with the right edge flowing into the curve created by her breast. Every image will be different so just do your best to enhance the subject.

    In keeping with this advice, instead of exactly replicating the green sparkly bits on the right in the first image with the guy, I decided to do something a little different. I thought it would be cool if they were kind of emanating from her hand and receding back into the light. If you wanted something a little closer to that then it would be done pretty much the same way, using a soft brush with a fairly heavy scatter and an Outer Glow Layer Style.

    I think that's just about it. Below is the final image with all the elements composited.

    Last edited by RUSHVision; 11-25-2006 at 09:34 PM.
    mrush


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  11. #11
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    chuck anderson is notorious for this stuff www.nopattern.com

    sweet tut rush

  12. #12
    Senior Member RUSHVision's Avatar
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    Some very cool stuff there. Thanks for the link.

    I especially like what he did for SVSV and Sparrow Guitars. Anyone who plays around in the arena should go check out this guy's work.
    mrush


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  13. #13
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    Very nice tutorial rush~ Thanks alot!
    Didn't quite understand what you meant with the slices part.. But nvm, i shall re-read it again in the next few days and try it out again.
    Really like how you discuss the process and thinking rather than just methods.

    Nopattern rocks. My fav pieces were the "Good Parts Of Bad Dreams", "Humanlike" and "Godlike".. The blending and visual appeal is unbelievable.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member RUSHVision's Avatar
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    No problem. Let me know if you need something clarified.
    mrush


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    did this a while back just using outter glow for the sparkle, and the cuts i used the marqee tool and used light color with low opacity

  16. #16
    He has risen! lefteyewilly's Avatar
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    rush, thanks for doing such a great tutorial. Concise yet detailed enough for most people to understand. I'm going to test it out and see what kind of results i get.

  17. #17
    Senior Member RUSHVision's Avatar
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    detroitwhat ~
    I think you could get a little more visual pop by putting in some more light streaks that highlighted areas like where his wheels are touching the rail, but that's lookin' good, dude.
    mrush


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RUSHVision
    detroitwhat ~
    I think you could get a little more visual pop by putting in some more light streaks that highlighted areas like where his wheels are touching the rail, but that's lookin' good, dude.
    you mean like make them thinner?, or just have some coming out and whatnot, i cant find this on my computer i might make another one with a better touch

  19. #19
    Senior Member RUSHVision's Avatar
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    Go to www.nopattern.com and check out the stuff under 'KR3W / Supra Footwear' in his Work (Newest) section. Do you see that dude in the first one? Instead of a basic uniform outer glow, he's got rays/streaks of light emanating out at various points around the figure. So even though all of him isn't glowing, he still seems to be radiating all kinds of crazy energetic light.

    That's what I'm suggesting you add to your pics...the energetic part. Also, do you see that he has lightened up parts of the guy so that it looks like the light is actually shining on him? In yours, you've got the sparkle things on top of him, but none of the light or color is being shown on him.

    The other ones are good too, but the last one is a particularly good example of what I'm talking about. See that light that is shooting out from where his feet touch the ground? That's the kind of thing that I think would look cool in yours where the wheels are touching the rail.

    Remember though, you can't just throw something in there and expect it to look good. You might have to play around with them a bit before they look right. You also might want to add a couple more elsewhere to help tie them in with the rest of the image.
    mrush


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  20. #20
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    Ah.. Finally got time to play with photoshop again..
    Rush, what i meant was, when you were explaining the "cuts", did you duplicated the glow and actually "cut" it with layer mask? And the burning part.. Don't really get what is going on there..

    http://www.emperorsnewrobes.com/
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